Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

By edhat staff

Santa Barbara has been named in the 30 most charming small cities in the United States by TravelMag.

The travel publication invited more than 500 travel writers, bloggers, photographers, and other travel industry professionals to name the five cities they consider to have the most charm and overall appeal. The votes were then added up to produce the top 30.

To be eligible for inclusion, the destination had to have a population of fewer than 250,000 people. According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2019, there were at least 780 cities with a population of 50,000 people or more in the country, and many more above 10,000.

The article highlights Santa Barbara’s Spanish-influenced architecture, the Old Mission, Botanic Gardens, and the best of the sea and mountains. 

Three more California cities made it on the list including South Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, and Napa.

Other “charming” cities throughout the U.S. include Ann Arbor, MI; Charleston, SC; Naples, FL; and Santa Fe, NM.

The full list is available at

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. Ashland is almost too quintessential perfect….except for the brutal fact there us zero vacancy there. It has a delightful, charming co-op downtown too, and a lovely park…plus a strong sense of community. Bellingham has been a draw for SoCal people for years..and a SB man has been actively buying property there for years. Best of all, it’s an hour , or less,to Vancouver, B.C. and 1 & a half hour drive to Seattle….or take your sailboat ….many boats & yachts the in the harbor. Also about zero vacancy…homes are now really , really hard to find.

  2. It’s a beautiful place. I’ve always loved it here. The aggressive homeless issue is out of control though. It has gotten dangerous and seems to be coming to a head. The addicts and mentally in need are not the ones easily housed in overnight parking lots or free housing.

  3. Increasing homeless population is occurring everywhere. In just the US, during the pandemic 56 new billionaires were created and existing increased their wealth by 55%, the same time the Urban Institute projects “ an overall 2021 poverty rate of 13.7 percent, meaning that about one in seven Americans may have annual family resources below the poverty threshold”

  4. Oh how charming Santa Barbara is. So, so charming. I know that the article is about charming small cities in the US, but I’d say with a true population of around 150K (plus another 150-200K in the surrounding areas), we’re hardly small. Of all the charming places I’ve been in the world, several stand out, and one of them is tiny Dingle, Ireland. Maybe 2,000ish people live there, but much like Santa Barbara, it relies on it’s natural beauty and proximity to the ocean to attract tourists. And SB drops them as a sister city because some sensitive poets (I think all related to UCSB) felt that they got “dissed” and were unwelcome by the folks of Dingle. How charming of Santa Barbara. How progressive. How Disgraceful. One last item: when do we get our parks back? Nearly every one of our parks is overrun by those known to the police on a first-hand basis. I’d like to have our charming parks back. No wonder the Mission lawn is packed by kids, families, and those who want to enjoy being outside without fear of stepping on needles, attacked by dirtbags, or gangbangers.

  5. And I would like to not have the tents on East Beach — there are (or were days last week) two of them west of the toilets so at least the occupants are probably not using the beach for that. If the City is going to allow camping, then….

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